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Sasikiran slips to fourth spot

April 18, 2005 16:39 IST

Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran was held to a draw by Viorel Iordachescu of Moldova in the third round of the Sigeman & Co. chess tournament in Sweden.

On a day when US teenage prodigy Hikaru Nakamura confirmed his status as one of the most rising star of the chess world by overpowering Tiger Hilarp Perssson of Sweden, experience of Jan Timman, aided by the lady luck, also took the front seat as he turned the tables on another Swede Jonny Hector in spectacular fashion.

Yet again as many as four games ended decisively out of a possible five and most certainly, the difference between the class of some from the rest has made it one of the more interesting round robin tournament in recent times.

With six rounds still to come in the category-13 event, Iordachescu was joined by Timman and Nakamura atop the tables on 2.5 points out of a possible 3. Second seed Sasikiran slipped to fourth spot following his tied result and he now has 2 points along with third seed Dane Curt Hansen while Hector, Persson, and Sune Berg Hansen of Denmark are far behind on just one point.

Interestingly enough, Sasikiran's was the lone dry game of the day even though the Indian has earned himself high regards for being a very uncompromising player. Obviously, this was caused by an extremely cautious play by Iordachescu who played white in the Ruy Lopez Brayer game.

Blitzing out the often repeated opening moves in quick time, Iordachescu went for the queenside play and Sasikiran had little troubles in neutralising white's initiative. The queens got traded on move 23 and nine moves later the peace was signed.

Nakamura is generally flashy but against Persson his aggression was a bit restrained after the latter went for the French defence playing black. The Advance variation gave Nakamura a tangible edge in the middle game when Persson went for trading of pieces at the cost of a wrecked pawn structure that in the end proved decisive.

The US Champion was unfazed even at the exchange of pieces at regular intervals and relentlessly tried to make a foray in the minor piece endgame wherein Persson's Bishop was gasping for breath right till the end.

A piece sacrifice resulted after Nakamura had made a foray with his King and knight and black's position fell apart soon after. It was a smile of satisfaction from Nakamura after the 100-moves triumph.

Timman was lucky in defeating Hector. An apparently balanced middle game was reached by the Dutchman in the English opening and Hector came out on top in the tactical complexities that ensued soon after.

However, Timman played resourcefully in crunch situation that made Hector go haywire to reach a heavy piece endgame in which the technicalities proved to be Timman's forte as he wrapped the issue in 61 moves.

In other games of the day, Hansen scored his first victory in the event accounting for Davor Palo in a fine positional game with black pieces while Sune Berg Hansen added to the woes of Emil Hermansson of Sweden by extending the latter's losing streak to three in a row.

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